Ten Top Tips for Writing Good Poetry

Ten Top Tips for Writing Good Poetry

How do you write good poetry? Let me count the ways. From beating writer’s block to jumpstarting your own poem to repairing rhymes to editing your first draft these tips will help those needing help with writing essays online, to writing for themselves…

10. Read good poems

This is the age of information. Take advantage of the wealth of sources around you by immersing yourself in poems. In the same way that you can’t be a good writer if you’re not a wide reader, you can’t be your best as a poet if you don’t expose yourself to the variety of poems you can find in books and magazines and on websites. That’s not to say, though, that you should read every single poem available around you, though reading those by the Famous Poets of the 20th Century really helps.

9. Use writing prompts to get unique ideas

You’re either too creative or downright lucky if you can start each poem with a line that ends up in the final draft. Remember that writing is mostly about spontaneity; it’s capturing that Eureka moment for, more often than not, you can’t find inspiration when you’re still, sitting in front of the computer and ready to type the line that will start your best poem. For this reason, it’s best that you keep a small notebook with you all the time in case an idea, line or theme pops in your mind.

An adage says that if inspiration doesn’t come, you must go after it with a club. Yet if all else fails, you must turn to some writing prompts to get you warmed up. You never know, some prompts may not just give you ideas, but instead the exact words you can use for a poem. These prompts can be anything from ads in billboards to quotes from movies to headlines of news stories.

8. Never make a poem rhyme for the sake of rhyming

Forcing a rhyme is one of the capital sins in writing poetry. It’s almost like squeezing a flowery line in a short story even though it doesn’t advance the plot or say something essential about a character. Ask yourself if each word you use clearly conveys your message to the reader. If not, then you can rephrase the line instead of racking your brains for a word that rhymes with another while having a meaning you need.

Now if the whole poem just doesn’t make sense at all, consider going for another rhyme scheme. If all else fails, you should go for free verse. Keep in mind that poetry, like other genres of literature, is about communicating what you feel and think, so make that your highest priority.

7. Wait a week or two before editing your poem

Think of your poem as a collage. You can better appreciate the message and beauty it possesses if you look at its big picture and not its separate images. You have to let it sit for a while and go back to it once you have almost forgotten about penning the lines yourself. You’ll be surprised at how different you’ll find your poem two weeks after the time you conceived it. This is also an effective way of making sure that you become objective when editing your own poem.

6. Read aloud every line in your poem

Poems are meant to be read aloud. This is what makes each poem a new one even if its theme has been exhausted by many poets for thousands of years. From pauses and prolonged syllables to volume and speed, your unique way of reading your poem makes it different from other works.

Reading your poem aloud also helps you make better judgments when editing it. It helps you spot awkward combinations of words that you may not be able to detect when you read the poem silently.

Ten Top Tips for Writing Good Poetry

5. Write your first draft freely without stopping

As much as possible, you should maintain the “in-the-zone” moment. It’s just you and the poem, no pen and paper separating you from the words. Just write or type without stopping. Make sure to do it fast so you can capture every single word that pops in your mind.

Not only do you maintain your momentum this way, but you also get to write words fresh from your subconscious since you’re just letting your pen flow freely with your mind. This is also the reason why you shouldn’t map out an outline or ending for a beginning line beforehand. Just let your subconscious lead you and you’ll be surprised at the product you come up with.

4. Never overuse similes, metaphors and other figures of speech

Figures of speech are often the elements that breathe imagery into your poem. They make a flat poem three-dimensional by adding twists and turns to your play of words and ideas. Again, stay focused on the message you want to communicate to your readers. You don’t end up with an encyclopedia of figures of speech.

3. Don’t give away everything in your poem

Imagine watching a play where the playwright later decodes each symbol presented in the plot. Wouldn’t you feel insulted that they assumed you can’t think for yourself and figure everything out?

This is exactly the case with writing poems. Remember that the art of poetry is not just found in the play of words but also in the artful way ideas are presented in a subtle way. Your creative use and combination of words and images should guide you and not tell your readers outright what you want to say.

2. Use your own language

Alas! I had a bloody awful time
when my cellphone broke down
and –Crikey!–
my pants got torn!

While you don’t have intentions of combining Old English, British, Australian and modern English in one poem, you may be guilty of using another language in crafting your lines. This is yet again another capital sin for if you want your poem to sound natural, you should use the very language that you use. From expressions to exclamations to idioms, the lines of your poem should sound like your speaking self. Get rid of that “Alas!” in your poem unless you’re the reincarnated Shakespeare walking the modern earth.

1. Write poems every day

Just as reading poems everyday helps you acquire your desired style, crafting poems every day helps you exercise your writing muscles. Remember that you can never get better at writing if you stick to reading poems and jotting down ideas or writing prompts. Keep in mind the adage that one accomplished author said, “A writer is one who writes—today.

Whether you’re a published poet with awards under your belt or someone who finds solace in expressing your thoughts through verse, these tips can improve your writing process and your poetry. Now, stop reading, and get writing!

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